Have White Kitchens Lost their Luster?

All-white kitchens have been a classic choice over the past century. Still, their bright monotony has the potential to wear on people. In the 50s, we combatted the monotony with excessively patterned wallpaper. In the 70s, it was with avocado. In the 90s, it was with oak. Word on the street is that white kitchens are on the way out again. But is it true? And what can you do to combat the monotony in your own kitchen if you’re sick of seeing white?

According to designer Sylvie Meehan, white kitchens still have a place in our homes. “I think white will still be timeless for at least another year,” she says. But there are lots of options for homeowners who are looking for a change.

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Introducing an Opposite

If you want to shake up a single-toned space, contrast is the name of the game. This contrast can be as distinct or as subtle as you like. Paint your kitchen island a color that complements the white cabinetry, or paint the upper or lower cabinets their own distinctive color. Replace your countertop or flooring with dark or warm hues. And consider incorporating a mix of textures and materials to create dimension. “I like to play with texture,” says Meehan. “If you get a polished countertop, I would go with a matte backsplash. If you get a matte countertop, then I would go with a textured backsplash.”

Plug and Play Elements

If you want to do something bold, but you don’t want to go into serious construction, dress up your kitchen with disposable details like plumbing and light fixtures, hardware, and repurposed items or materials. These features will not only add character, but they will also serve to warm up the sterility of a streamlined white kitchen. For these conservative upgrades, Meehan says, “We’re going to make a “wow” factor on things we can easily change later.”

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Points of Interest

There are lots of ways to incorporate colorful points of interest, and they can do wonders to amp up a sterile space. You can decorate with colorful accessories like vases and art, swap out a dull backsplash for an engaging color or texture, and even splurge on a poppy appliance. Be cautious when investing in unique appliances and features. If you’re going to buy a matching set of specialty appliances, it might be difficult to replace one that breaks years down the road. Make sure the decision works for you, now and into the future.

“Sometimes, you’re going to have a person that says, ‘I really need that red oven. I don’t care if it goes out of style, this is what I want.’ And then you do it! We look for guidelines on trends, but the reality is so different for everybody’s budget and style.”

– Sylvie Meehan, Owner of Sylvie Meehan Designs in Fort Worth, Texas

Going Greige

If you haven’t heard of greige, you may have just stumbled upon the perfect color solution for your white kitchen blues. Greige is a combination of gray and beige that has swiftly made a place and name for itself in the paint market. “The gray-beige is the color that’s coming in,” says Meehan. “I think the reason is that it’s a bit warmer.” You can use this color to reface your cabinets or on other surfaces to add depth. Other popular colors that work well are light, vintage blues, taupe and grays.

It’s Your Kitchen, After All

Despite what the headlines say about white kitchens being outdated or off-trend, when it comes down to it, you’re the one sipping coffee and washing dishes in that space. It should reflect your style and needs. “I really follow my clients and what they love,” says Meehan. “If it’s out of style, I’ll tell them. But otherwise, I like to give the style they like. Some people like country, some will be transitional, and some will be contemporary and urban rustic. It’s so personal.”

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